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Summer travel chaos looming as BA union prepares fresh strike ballot

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by Kay Mitchell

Fresh strike action is looming at British Airways (BA) after the Unite union has announced plans to ballot its 12,000 cabin crew members next week, unless the long-running dispute is resolved.

So far, cabin crews have held 22 days of strikes after being involved in a long-running dispute with the airline over cost-cutting measures, which include a pay freeze, a switch to part-time working for thousands of staff, as well as removing travel perks, which were stripped from members during the strike in March.

The airline has admitted in the past that it is fighting for its survival and said the cost-cutting programme is part of a strategy to reduce salary costs.

According to Unite, the ballot result is due on July 27 - meaning a strike could proceed on August 3.

BA has condemned the move and said it was confident that the vast majority of its services would be unaffected by any strike action and that contingency plans put in place should permit all long-haul flights from Heathrow to continue as planned, as well as a “substantial proportion” of short-haul services.

In a statement, the airline said: “Once again, Unite and its cabin crew branch Bassa have demonstrated their selfish lack of concern for our customers and their own colleagues.

“Their apparent wish to target the summer holidays of tens of thousands of families is deplorable.”

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News posted: June 23, 2010

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